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Directed by Gregory Hoblit
Running Time: 1:57
Rated PG-13 for intense violence and disturbing images.

I generally enjoy these kind of time shifting movies. And Frequency was no different. A decent story, some good acting, and what I thought was a better way of dealing with what happens in the present if you screw around with the past than most movies have dealt with before.

Dennis Quaid (Frank) and James Caviezel (John) star as a father and son, the only difference being the father is in 1969 while the son is in 1999. It seems a solar flare up has allowed these two to talk to each other over an old ham radio. Whether or not you accept this possibility can go a long way to deciding whether or not you enjoy the movie. I accepted it and moved on. After a short period of non-belief, Frank comes to believe that this man he talks to really is his son in the future. But when John tells his father something that saves Frank's life, they also change the course of history. Now all of a sudden John's mother is murdered by a serial killer because of something Frank did differently in the past, and the two of them must rush to find the killer and save their family.

The biggest problem with these types of movies, at least in my mind, is wondering how it's possible that if you change something in the past, the present is almost exactly the same. Other than in the Back to the Future movies (part 2 to be exact) where everything is different, in most time shifting movies, everything is generally the same, except for one or two minor changes. I always believed that if you changed something in the past, no matter how insignificant, the future would be changed in ways no one could imagine. I think The Simpsons had a good take on that in one of their Halloween episodes. Anyway, I just think that if someone was meant to die, if you change that and they live, then everything in the world would change. In this case it seems only memories change but not events. For instance, and this isn't giving away too much, when Franks ends up not dying at a warehouse fire, John and his friends are still sitting in the same bar at the same time toasting his death. The only difference is now Frank dies of cancer 10 years earlier. Everyone's memory is of Frank dying of cancer, but the events of life are still exactly the same. Maybe I'm thinking too much.

Anyway, while John's memories change, he also has the ability to remember both histories - the history with the changes in the past, and the history without the changes. I thought that was an interesting take on the subject. I thought the acting in the movie was good. Besides the two main characters, I really liked the mother (Elizabeth Mitchell) and I have always loved Andre Braugher who plays a cop who investigates the serial murders both in 1969 and still in 1999. I enjoyed the way the past and the present moved back and forth seamlessly, and I thought the story was pretty interesting. The main plot point that you need to accept, as I said earlier, is the ability for two people 30 years apart to be able to speak to each other. I think once you accept that, everything else become much easier to accept as well.

I generally don't write a review the day I see a movie. I like to wait a day or so, just to see if any specific scenes or instances in the movie stay with me. And I guess the downfall of Frequency is that while I enjoyed it while I watched it, in the end, it's not all that memorable. Which is itself isn't a bad thing. I go to movies to have some fun, stop thinking about the rest of the world. And Frequency was fun to watch, but in the long run, if you rent it you'll be just as happy.

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Text Version

reviewed 04/30/00

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